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Because maybe you do care what I had for lunch...

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The enlightened dinner

It's the same every January. After the decadence of the holidays I find myself in the mood for simple Buddhist temple food--you know, lots of veggies, no heavy sauces, no cheese. I know some people go in for Master-Servant Maximum Toxic Cleanses. Gwyneth Paltrow's detox diet has been making the rounds through the Internets (shudder--castor oil is mentioned--need I say more?). Fortunately I do not have to resort to such extremes, for Lane also gifted me with The Enlightened Kitchen: Fresh Vegetable Dishes from the Temples of Japan.

So to kick off a new year of austerity and deprivation--Madoff take note--I made a salad of kidney beans, cannellini beans, and wakame (a seaweed) with lemon dressing. You can substitute with other beans, of course, and maybe even skip the wakame, depending on how you feel about seaweed, which can be a little tricky (read: slimy and gelatinous). The dressing is lemon juice, grapeseed oil, rice vinegar, salt, pepper, and white wine; I substituted sesame oil for the grapeseed and mirin for the white wine. This is a lovely balance between tart and bland, substantive and light.

Speaking of balance, maybe I shouldn't have made the spinach and mushrooms with lemon as well. Too much yin (right?). But this was so tasty. Blanch a head of spinach, drain well, chop, marinate a few minutes in soy sauce. Meanwhile, grill some shitake mushrooms, slice, and toss with the spinach with more soy sauce and some lemon juice.

I loved the ginger rice though I had a few problems with it. I messed with the measurments, trying to increase by half, and ended up with too much liquid. As you can see, I went well past dinnertime and had to keep the rice boiling uncovered for several minutes. Fortunately I used brown rice, which can hold up to abuse. Cook the rice with fresh ginger juice (grate, then squeeze), kombu, and a little soy sauce. Then top with some fresh minced ginger--oh so warming and nourishing!

I let Lane take the leftovers for lunch today and then regressed with a sandwich of grilled leftover roast beef, goat cheese and saurkraut. Well, I can only take so much enlightenment.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Yum!! I've got to try that ginger rice very soon. Our (admittedly half-a$$ed) method of cutting back on the culinary indulgences tonight involved salmon and risotto- not exactly light- with spinach and grilled tomatoes to add at least some virtue. Hey, at least it's not chocolate!!